How to deal with tear gas

Posted: January 26, 2011 in #Jan25, Arabic/English Post, Egypt, Middle East, News

Published: Jan 26, 2011 @14:18 EST. Latest update: Jan 26, 2011 @15:07 EST

Thanks to the contributions of @monamahfouz and others

Although protestors in Egypt have bigger things to worry about now, like kidnappings and live ammunition, here are some tips on how to effectively deal with tear gas, and to NOT let it stop you from peacefully demonstrating.

The best defense against tear gas is a gas mask, but if you don’t have a mask there are still steps you can take to minimize damage from tear gas.

Below are tips on what you need to do to practically eliminate the threat of tear gas.  Things like not panicing and such are important, however your biggest allies are towels, water & air tight goggles. It is a known fact that air tight goggles are not a commodity easily accessible in Egypt, so here is what you should do:

1. Wet/soaked towels around your nose and mouth, add lemon juice, cider vinegar or soda-pop to your homemade face mask.  You must wear them as tight as possible. Loose towels won’t do you much good.

2. Take off your contact lenses.  It is one thing to not wear air-tight goggles, it is far worse to wear contacts while you are being gassed.  Wear your prescription glasses instead, you have better chances with them.

3. Protect your eyes: Use swim/diving goggles if you can’t find an air-tight eye protection. If unavailable, hoodies and other head gear might help.

4. It is a good idea to carry a plastic bag with a cloth of paper towel in it soaked in pure emon juice, cider vinegar or soda-pop. Seal it and breath the fumes if you get exposed to high doses of tear gas. Any acid can be used to neutralise tear gas, though bleach is best. Fumes of chopped-up onions underneath the nose can help. Carry some in plastic bag, use as needed.

5. Do NOT panic.  You will only start breathing harder and you will inhale more fumes that will cause more pain.

6. Dress in layers. Once a layer of clothes catches the fumes, you should remove that layer, or you will continue breathing the fumes in smaller doses on extended periods of time. try to wear waterproof/rain clothes as a top layer. If desperate, use heavy-duty garbage bags.

7. Only if you can, kick the launched smoke canisters away from you and other people in your crowd. Do NOT grab them and throw them back right away, they might burn your skin. Only grab and throw back if they are not hot to the touch.

8. NEVER wash/rinse tear gas with hot water. This will open pores and get the skin to suck it more. Use cold water instead.  It is preferable to have a bottle of water dissolving around 5% of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) in it to rinse with.

9. Flush eyes with saline or water. To soothe, use alkaline solutions. Mix baking soda, shampoo, milk or Mylanta with water and flush eyes.

10. Avoid creams that are oil-based or sunscreens. They will increase its absorption through skin and will lead to more respiratory consumption as well.

11. Deal with the source: If there is a garbage bin or bucket on hand, put it over the canister. Also, acids can be used to neutralize tear gas.  If you have a bucket, vinegar, and strong gloves, drop the canister into vinegar.

– Use hockey sticks, cricket bats or baseball bats to hit tear gas canisters back at attackers.

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Comments
  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Ramy Yaacoub, Strict Machine, RTwittNews ★ Agency, Assem Memon, Ramy Yaacoub and others. Ramy Yaacoub said: RT @TheStrictMach: New blog post: How to deal with tear gas http://bit.ly/epvcZH will be updated more later #Jan25 #Egypt […]

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